Frequently Asked Questions
What if my family doesn’t typically eat canned foods?
Consider what you would eat if fresh foods weren’t available. Then rotate the canned goods by making annual donations to the Boy Scouts of America or local food bank.
How do I come up with thirty food storage recipes? (I don’t know what to cook for dinner tomorrow night, let alone the entire month.)
Start slowly. Think of one meal you could serve using rice. After you have that one planned, think of one meal you could serve with beans. Consider the strategy you use when planning meals for a vacation—getting ready for a trip feels lots easier than planning for some unknown impending doom.
Where can I find good food storage recipes?
Everywhere and nowhere. It’s not about magic food storage recipes. Just ask your friends and family to share a few of their favorite simple recipes. Search the net for easy every-day meals. Check out a cookbook or two from the library.
How do I make room in my kitchen for the food storage recipe ingredients that will be used in everyday meals?
Try relocating extra dishes, limited-use items, and specialized or seasonal cooking equipment in order to make room for the three-month supply of food storage. I made food storage the priority and essentially created a pantry by using a few cupboards. It was surprising to see how much could be stored in a limited space.
Why eat my food storage and then have to work to replenish it? Why not just get the food together and leave it?
You could let your food storage just sit, but you’d be missing the day-to-day benefits of your work and organization. Plus, for many types of canned goods not used within a one- to two-year period there’s the likelihood of wasting your original investment and being forced to replace everything. Not to mention the practical advantages of becoming really comfortable preparing the food you have stored. Anything that can give you more confidence during an emergency is worth the effort.
I’ve had food storage in my basement for years. How do I get into the groove of using it?
The items may be just downstairs, but out of sight is still out of mind; instead, open a can of each staple (rice, wheat, beans, etc) and store some amount of the dry goods right in your kitchen. Make a specific plan of your family’s meals that uses both long-term and shorter-term storage ingredients, so that you will be sure to use what you’ve placed in your kitchen. Design a strategy that works for you and then stick to it.
Which container is recommended for storing staples like wheat in smaller/more manageable portions that will still keep it fresh for a long time?
The #10 size cans purchased from the Home Canning Centers include plastic lids to use once the can is opened: they help keep the product fresh for at least six months or longer. If you have room in the freezer, you might also choose to store the dried ingredients in smaller plastic bags.
What do I do with thirty-year-old wheat stored in the old-style drums?
If it’s still usable, consider offering it to someone who may not be able to afford their own storage and then reinvest in a fresh supply stored in the much more convenient and user-friendly #10 size cans.
How do I use wheat? The only method I know is grinding it into flour for bread.
Try thinking of wheat as a new type of brown or wild rice and experiment with adding it to soups, casseroles, chicken salads, and ground beef. Wheat cooks like rice, just twice as long. A slow-cooker does an excellent job of cooking a large quantity to divide and store in the freezer. Cooked whole-wheat berries, warmed with a little milk and sugar, make an excellent breakfast, and nothing could be better for your health (your oncologist will thank you).
What if I seriously can’t afford to spend any money on food storage?
Been there. Consider what steps you could take to prepare your food storage plan. It doesn’t cost one cent to begin collecting recipes that your family would enjoy and possibly share with others.
How do I avoid being overwhelmed by the crazy weirdness that seems to surround discussions of food storage?
Focus on specific goals: 1) Gradually build your year supply of basic dry goods; 2) Purchase a three-month stash of the canned, dried, and bottled ingredients you normally use; 3) Get two weeks of water stored and 4) a little extra cash set aside. By accomplishing those four steps you’ll have better insight into whether or not it’s necessary to learn how to make cheese or harvest your own antibiotics.